A rat on Mars? A picture taken by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity, featuring what — according to some — is a “rat”, or possibly a lizard, is currently going viral.
A discriminating eye will no doubt note that the rat on Mars looks a great deal like on a rock on the earth. You can perhaps see how the chance combination of the rock’s shape, the shadows around it, and the placement, could possibly resemble the well-known shape of a rat. But the resemblance is clearly created from a combination of different features — the “tail” appears to be a shadow and a chance “line” in the sand, the space under the “neck” and between the “legs” are indentations, and the “body” wouldn’t even be in the right plane/angle as compared to the landscape around it — it’s a rock.
But for the sake of it, and for fun, let’s go over it all.
The theory appears to have originated with a man in Japan who apparently goes over the photos that NASA releases in great detail — looking for just such a finding. It’s worth noting that this rat is actually a different meme than the squirrel on Mars that was seen back in December. People like the idea of small, fuzzy, cuddly creatures on Mars I guess. Why not a giant polar bear or snake? Oh right, cause there aren’t many rocks that big shaped that way. And for that matter if it was a larger object than the photos wouldn’t be so helpfully fuzzy.
The earlier squirrel on Mars was seen in the “Rocknest” site on the planet — a relatively small distance from this rat — maybe they are buddies? Some web sites have theorized that perhaps the creatures aren’t image artifacts or tricks of the eye/mind, but perhaps intentionally put there by NASA, as an “Easter egg” of sorts I guess. Strange theory, but possible I guess. Don’t know why NASA would bother though.
As a note — it’s kind of interesting when you think about it — the Earth is currently facing the possible extinction of over one half of all multicellular life by the year 2100 — we are currently in the midst of the 6th Great Mass Extinction — and the idea of a single rat or squirrel being found on Mars is what’s getting people’s attention…
Here’s the image without zooming in on the “rat”.
With regards to the Mars rover Curiosity’s real findings — NASA recently announced that the rover uncovered good evidence of past water flows on the Red Planet, and that life may very well have existed then. In particular, a rock sample was analyzed and found to contain the elements “necessary” for supporting life as we know it.
“We have characterized a very ancient, but strangely new ‘gray Mars’ where conditions once were favorable for life,” stated John Grotzinger, Mars Science Laboratory project scientist at the California Institute of Technology. “Curiosity is on a mission of discovery and exploration, and as a team we feel there are many more exciting discoveries ahead of us in the months and years to come.”
In related news, recent research was released documenting the levels of radiation that the Curiosity rover experienced on its way to Mars — and the levels were significant, well above the limits that NASA currently has in place for its astronauts. In order to send humans to Mars without more radiation exposure than NASA protocols currently allow for, significant and improved spacecraft shielding will need to be developed.